A PRIEST was part of a team of swimmers who swam the length of Lake Geneva last week.
The Vicar of St Stephen’s, Rochester Row, in Westminster, the Revd Graham Buckle, who previously swam the English Channel, completed the swim after cycling 800km to Geneva from London.
The swimming group, In the Duck Poo, is part of the Serpentine Swimming Club. The name is a reference to both the conditions in the the Serpentine and the name of the lake’s song, sung to the tune of “Oh, My Darling Clementine”.
The six — Rose Lewis, Craig Kerr, Katie Berlyn Homes, Anna Kerr, Sarah Webb, and Mr Buckle — took four turns to travel the 73km length of Lake Geneva, taking 24 hours and 47 minutes to complete the feat.
Speaking on Monday, Mr Buckle said: “The nice thing was, it was nice and warm, with no jellyfish, no current.” He said that it was nicer than his swim across the Channel (News, 17 July 2017).
He explained that they had to keep swimming during the night, and that the attempt was certified by the Lake Geneva Federation.
Mr Buckle had cycled to Geneva with Ms Berlyn Holmes’s father, Gerald, over six days the preceding week. He said: “I arrived on the Sunday afternoon only to be told that I was due to swim the next day, which was quite a surprise.
“It was a great experience to cycle there. I was unable to reach a church on the Sunday; so we stopped, had lunch, and broke bread. There can’t have been many people I could have had a eucharistic moment with. We went through the foothills of the French Alps, which was pretty difficult.”
The duo of cyclists avoided the bad weather which curtailed two stages of the Tour de France in the Alps later that week.
After the swim, Mr Buckle said: “When we arrived at Geneva, the people at the beach didn’t know how to react, or what was going on.”
He said that he probably would attempt something similar again: “But I’m on the wrong side of 56 — I need new challenges.”